Recent reports of escalating conflict in the Eastern DRC serve as a serious indictment against the international community because of its inability to put in place mechanisms for ending conflicts especially those that are fuelled by militant terrorists, such as the FDLR (Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda).
The war against terrorism is being waged in all regions of the world, sadly with little focus on armed terrorist groups operating in volatile African regions, such as the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Terrorist attacks in Pakistan where al-Qaida and Taliban militants have stepped up attacks against government and western envoys, killing scores of people, have attracted international headlines – including much diplomatic attention.
While another even more notoriously vicious militant group in its attacks, the FDLR, is being given a semblance of legitimacy, notwithstanding the history of the gravity of its crimes, dating from the 1994 Tutsi genocide, to recent crimes that include, murder, rape and torture.
All done with impunity under the watchful eye of the, U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in Congo, known as MONUC.
Putting into question what MONUC’s mandate in the Congo is? What is apparent at the moment is that MONUC is there to empower and lay legitimacy on evil forces that should otherwise be answering for crimes against humanity and genocide in the international justice system.
Writes international advocacy group, Enough: “These groups—namely the Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda, or FDLR, and its many off shoots[—have been responsible for terrible atrocities in eastern Congo, including widespread and systematic sexual violence.”
The United States state department has since designated the FDLR a Foreign Terrorist Group.
The so-called rebel group that was totally involved in the 1994 Tutsi genocide has integrated with the DRC army (FARDC) to hunt and kill those they consider their enemies.
This is what they call the war against Laurent Nkunda. The two armies do not actually fight alongside each other, but have integrated to operate under one common denominator/command.
Surprisingly, FDLR takes the lead command on ground operations against the ‘enemy’. Which is why the cruelty and the manner in which the atrocities committed, are similar to those in Rwanda during the genocide; it is the same ideology and genocide in continuation.
The Banyamulenge have been the target in all the conflict, where a number of them have been tortured and killed since the Interahamwe and ex-FAR soldiers touched DRC ground.
Who are the FDLR? They are genocide fugitives who fled justice and were given safe haven in the DRC. They actually enjoy hospitality that even some citizens like the Banyamulenge do not get.
They have been committing atrocities in broad daylight, when the international community is watching.
“In 1994, at Rwanda’s moment of greatest need, the world turned its back. The Rwandan genocide and the subsequent flight of the genocidaires into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) spawned eastern Congo’s complex crisis,” comment political analysts Rebecca Romjin and Famkine Jensen.
In short, FDLR, are simply genocide fugitives that are used as mercenaries by failing leaderships across Africa. Regimes like Robert Mugabe’s have also used Interahmwe militias to harass, violate, destroy, and rape its citizens. Shamelessly, as I said before, they enjoy the services of these criminals. Incredible but true!
Look at what MONUC was doing according to ENOUGH:
“The U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in Congo, known as MONUC, must increase its presence in FDLR-controlled areas and expand FDLR defection “corridors” where defectors and their dependents are safe and can start the demilitarization process. MONUC peacekeepers must also begin to deny the FDLR and other armed groups access to the minerals and other natural resources that fund their movements and expand its Special Forces capabilities for possible offensive operations, in coordination with the Congolese army, against the FDLR.”
This is in total contradiction to the FDLR’s actions on the ground. Sadly, the behaviour by MONUC does not only once again endorse the impunity with which the FDLR are carrying out the atrocities mostly against un-armed civilians, it also becomes a self fulfilment prophecy on the failure of the international community’s ability to avoid a conflict from degenerating to a point where there is much loss of human life and property.
The presence of persistent training and equipping of FDLR in the neighbouring country poses a primary threat to Rwanda, before any other country in the region.
That is why it was the one to blow the whistle first, signalling an impending catastrophe in the region. FDLR and other genocide groups have said time again that the genocide against the Tutsi was not done satisfactorily.
They say that it actually failed, and a new programme, according to them, must be forged to accomplish the ‘work’.
So, what does the world of sensible people think about a regime that harbours such people in the 21st Century? The whole world knows their agenda, DRC, knows it more than anybody else, and yet nothing is being done by anyone on this earth to avert the danger in the region.
What happens when we give blanket amnesty to evil? - We breed it!
What should Rwanda and its people do in such situations? We cannot afford to witness another mass murder in our midst, whether it’s home made or foreign instigated.
We therefore have to watch events as they develop with a lot of care.
Our record is clear and clean, we have never pushed a punch against any of our aggressors, but whenever they did, they ended up with a bloody nose.
Our record is also clear, when it comes to morals. Rwandans have been guided by moral restraints in most challenging security situations, which is why they have never, and will not harass any foreigner from any hostile nation. Our enemies have been doing the exact opposite.
The lenience and restraint with which the Rwandan government acts is typical of a civilized society.
That is why the minister of foreign affairs had to call diplomats in the country to highlight the government’s fears pertaining to the new developments in the DRC.
This is only done when the government is overstretched. “We have also written to other partners like the EU, and on our own African continent and all other partners that we know are concerned by the issue of security in the region”, Minister Rosemary Museminali explained.
It is high time therefore that the international community acts more responsibly, or else the whole Great Lakes Region will again be plunged into violence.